Archive | November 2016

Architect Of Love, John Charles

Architect Of Love,  John Charles
Architect Of Love (Fated Soulmates Book 2) by [Charles, John]

Genre:  m/m Gay Fiction / Contemporary Romance

Well, I don’t often read novellas, as I find they just don’t go into enough depth to let me really get a feel for the characters and story.
A few authors can do it and I’ve mostly found them in the M/M romance genre ? Dunno why..there’s no reason why these should be any different than general romance .

Anyway I’d read John’s free book, ( links on his website) so I knew I liked his style of writing and agreed to review this one.
I really enjoyed it even though its short – 1420 kindle locations, that usually works out at about 120-130 ish pages.  Its got characters I felt I could know, that felt real, from Lance and Forrest to Lance’s mum and his friend Dale, Forrest’s friend Rachelle and his employees, who treated him as a friend as much as a boss. I need to feel characters and situations could be real to enjoy a story.

The plot too was realistic, with Lance being a furniture restorer and helping his mum in her estate sale business, and Forrest having worked his way up from nothing, to a very respected and well known architect with his own firm.

I understood in a way how Lance felt, its hard when you see such material differences between you and the person you love, and yet as Forrest tried to convince him that didn’t matter, it was only a part of him, he’s come from the same background as Lance and they had so many other things in common.
I really felt the emotion in them both and poor Forrest – what could he do? He shouldn’t change because Lance couldn’t deal, that would have made him resentful and yet how else could he repair things?
Alongside that there’s issues with Forrest’s work, with the firm growing rapidly, winning new contracts outside their current experience, and feeling a backlash as a result of one close to home. A real tough time for Forrest.
I did feel angry at Lance for his pig-headedness, but we feel as we do inside, logic doesn’t always come into it. I wasn’t so happy about the Dale issue….but that’s me 🙂 and it did provide that extra barrier to get past.

Its a fun read, a good story, realistic with characters I could get behind, and a sensible mix of story v sex.
Too often novellas focus on sex and the story is just backup, and that’s what many readers want – but for me it needs to be as this one is, story first and sex second.

Stars: Four, a great read with realistic storyline.

ARC supplied by author

Frostbitten, Charlotte Stein

Frostbitten, Charlotte Stein

Frostbitten by [Stein, Charlotte]

Genre:  Romance, Erotica

This title is part of the 2016 Holiday Charity Bundle collection supporting The Trevor Project.

I’d loved one of Charlotte’s stories I’d read before, so knew I enjoyed her writing style, and this – vampires, ménage, and a synopsis that sounded fun, meant I’d clicked the request button before realising it was a novella.
My bad.  😦 I so struggle with those, some people love them but me, I always feel the stories are too truncated, that I don’t get to really know the characters and events.
This book was a perfect example of that – as a full length novel I think I’d love it, but everything happened so fast here that I just didn’t feel properly connected to the story or characters.

When it starts Zeke has been the subject of Cora’s crush for a while. She’s the shy, retiring type though, so doesn’t do more than blush and get tongue tied each time she sees him. Its the xmas party and he’s brought Merrick with him. From the freezing glares he’s directing at her Cora can see that Merrick is more than just a friend to him, and that he’s Not Happy at Zeke talking to her.

Then everything goes bang and she wakes up a captive. The first part was a great beginning, but of course once she’s transformed and captive there’s a lot of ground to cover in just such a short time.
For me it was hard to accept she understood and welcomed what had happened, she just didn’t seem to me to have that sort of nature. Then it was hard to see how Merrick went from that cold, jealous, supercilious vampire who seemed to hate her, into something else entirely.

Its a great story, but so cut short by the length restrictions that the reasons for events, the side parts and consequences just couldn’t be fit in, and I needed them. The sex though – wham, that’s there, in spades. Sensual and erotic and lots of it.
If you want a short hot read, with a good story ( even though its very compressed) this is your read.
Lots of people like novellas, one of my friends loves them- she reads a few pages each night and says at least this way she can still remember the beginning when she reaches the end….

If you want a short and very erotic read this is perfect, if like me you want more depth, a longer, more fleshed out story then you may feel that this is not really your kind of read.
The Trevor Project is well worth supporting though.

Stars: Three and a half, short and spicy, just a bit too short for me

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publisher

Nightshade’s Flame, Book One of the Werewolves of Rebellion Series, Ana Lee Kennedy

Nightshade’s Flame, Book One of the Werewolves of Rebellion Series, Ana Lee Kennedy

Nightshade's Flame: Book One  of the Werewolves of Rebellion Series by [Kennedy, Ana Lee]

Genre:   Romance, erotica

Another shortish read at 3342 kindle locations 😦
I really prefer longer reads, but this one had enough length to make the story work for me.
Its always tough for the first book in a series, has to deliver the characters, world setting and a story to keep reader hooked and that’s a big ask. This one did OK for me, it wasn’t a gripping read but was a solid one, with promise of a good series to follow.

I liked the premise of Bernadette being a true crime writer, and researching for her next book about MCs and the way they operate. She was a good lead, strong and confident, and a really genuine feeling person.
I’m OK with the insta lust between her and Frank, president of the Werewolves of Rebellion. It felt real, and sometimes when people meet there is that visceral instant attraction. Of course in fantasy that usually means a bit more, the old Mate stuff… and of course there’s the conundrum that Frank isn’t looking for more, plus Bernadette is human and also not looking for a relationship.
The others in both MC clubs were a good mix of people and solid for later stories.

The issues raised were good, felt real and so did the characters. I really enjoyed the day to day side part of the book too.
Scary Mary I felt was a little jarring, I’m not really a fan of people like her, shrouded in mystery but able to crop up and help at a crisis. That’s one of my niggles, along with another that occurred here, where people have some unused/unknown supernatural talent which comes in just at the right moment…I just feel its a bit of lazy plotting, “Oh no! We’re all/he/she is in grave danger, there’s no way out” – and then some new supernatural talent pops up for one of them. Doesn’t work for me, I want them to use skills I know about, and that have been learned solidly.
Still, that was a small niggle in the context of a decent story that I enjoyed.
I liked the way the club was a working farm, as well as a motorcycle specialist shop. I did struggle with the funding, somehow didn’t expect them to be quite so tight to the line when the figures were mentioned. They talked as though it was close to the club being broke, when in fact the sums mentioned were relatively small.
Still I guess in such a rural area work and jobs were hard to find and that’s why money was just so tight.
It wasn’t a five star read for me, but a solid four and I look forward to reading more about the group/s.

Stars: A solid four and a good start to the series.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Lost in Time, (The Fine Art of Deception 3), Alyssa Richards

Lost in Time, (The Fine Art of Deception 3), Alyssa Richards

Lost in Time: Book 3 in The Fine Art of Deception Series by [Richards, Alyssa]

Genre:   Romance, fantasy and paranormal

Well, the home stretch 🙂 I’m in two minds – always am at this point. I love to see how the trilogy/series ends and yet its hard saying goodbye to characters that feel so real, that I’ve worried about. How authors must feel I can’t imagine.
Still, I love to reread good books, and this is one series that’s so unusual, so different from anything else, that I think a back to back reading will be even more enjoyable than this piecemeal reading of instalments.
I had to reread the last couple of chapters of book two to remind myself where we were up to as its such a complex novel.

SO, by now after books one and two ( and don’t try jumping into book three without reading those, you’ll get hopelessly lost) we are well informed about the background and characters, though its been so intense and so very different to the usual fantasy/paranormal reads, that I have trouble recalling exactly how it all started and some of the connections. That’s where a back to back session will make this trilogy even more enjoyable!

This picks up from the end of book two, where Blake and Addie have journeyed back through  a Wentworth painting to 1920’s. They’re hoping they can find Addie’s dad and grandfather,  find and deal with Otto, and bring back Blake’s mother who went with Otto under duress, knowing it was the only way to keep Blake and Addie safe. Simple then, should only take a short while….!
Note that term “deal with”. They’re all shying away from what they really mean, haven’t quite faced up to what they have to do to stop him permanently.
Otto’s such a mad man now, so unpredictable, unable to be reasoned with that everyone is shying away from what Deal means…there’s little grounds to imprison him in the present time, he’s done some awful things, committed murder, but there’s no proof. Likewise the 1920’s, even if they could manage to get him imprisoned he’s bound to find a way out, or be there for just a short time. With his abilities to “push” people, and his manipulating but convincing nature he’d find a way.
He’s a really clever man, if only he’d stuck to his first intentions and not let the power go to his head, want more and more and become obsessed over keeping Blake’s mum. She loved him once, til he became obsessed with power and control.

Addie’s worried about Blake, its been two years now back in time. They went as partners, taking Blake’s half brother and her cousin, Phillipe, with them, but as time goes on Blake disappears for days at a time without telling her where or why he’s gone. He’s become more and more distant, obsessed with the twin aims of finding his mum, and keeping her and Addie safe from Otto. He’s becoming a control freak, and even though Addie understands his fears its pushing her away.
Phillipe, who she’s known since a child, has become much closer to her too, and Blake is jealous of that. Even though he can see what Addie needs from him, see that he’s risking their relationship by his actions, he still can’t seem to change, just getting vaguely irritated when she brings it up, saying he’ll try harder but still going on the same way, convinced he and only he can keep her safe, make the decisions needed, shutting her out physically and emotionally. Phillipe loves Addie, will keep aside if Blake is who she wants, but can see the breach happening and is ready…he even warns Blake but nothing changes.

I loved the 1920’s part, which covers most of the book. There are snippets to what’s going on in the current time via the books that send messages. As the action moves from America to Paris though they need to find a third book so they can continue to communicate with Addie’s family. That’s not easy, Addie’s dad and granddad know where one was earlier, but of course nothing is static and things change all the time so they have to hope its still there….
Throw in that Jack and Sarah, who are Blake and Addie in a previous incarnation,  are alive here, that Blake is becoming more like Otto in the way he sees Addie, that Addie’s dad and granddad have made a life for themselves back in time after 20 years there, and the story becomes ever more complex.
Addie’s dad and granddad try to impress on Blake, Addie and Philippe how important it is not to interfere in the past, but with so much going on and being in the same place as their past selves its very difficult, and then things really come to a head!
Everything seems to happen at once, the past looks to be changing, they don’t know why or how to put it right, can only guess, they catch up with Otto but it doesn’t go well, Blake and Addie are still struggling. Philippe’s feelings are getting more intense and Blake’s jealousy stronger than ever,  but he’s still staying with ultimate control even though he can see what he’s risking. Its as if he can’t actually believe it, that the Soul Mates part that’s brought them back together in this incarnation can’t change – but it can, especially if the past changes…
I was desperate for them to make it, I love Philippe, but it’s Blake and Addie that make the magic for me, they belong together, and I wanted that for them with Phillipe getting his own lady at some point. Would it happen though or would it all go wrong?

Its riveting story, full of surprises. I really felt I was back in the Twenties with them, loved the descriptions of the clothes, the day to day life, and the week it took them to sail to Paris. Travel wasn’t quick and simple then. Of course they had money and that makes things easier, and it was because of the first two books, where we saw how they’d amassed what they needed that made this part feel so genuine.
I hate books where things come up for convenience, and they get funds by the equivalent of some kind of lottery win, unknown relative leaving a fortune or something. Done this way, where we know where the money has come from, can see the trail and it makes sense, then I’m happy.

The last quarter is non stop action it feels, with things looking positive, then its all turned around. There’s several different plotlines all coming to a head at the same time, and its almost breathless the way I was speed reading through full of excitement, happy one moment and then down when it all went wrong once more.
I really couldn’t guess how things would get resolved, what would happen, and its clever writing like this that kept me wondering if, how, why and when….

A fabulous read, something so very different in the Fantasy/Paranormal genre where it’s dominated by stories are just a couple of hundred pages or less of a Vampire or Were hundreds of years old finding his Mate, in a simplistic, sickly thin story * roll eyes * so its a real treat to get a book I can really get stuck into, lost in the magic (!) of the story.
I’m hoping that maybe there’s more to come from this world, perhaps Phillipe or some other relatives have inherited some of the reading/pushing talents that allow the story to continue but focus on them, and keeping Addie and Blake happy, just showing us them in cameo roles.

Stars: Five, one to keep, to savour rereading the whole trilogy back to back.

ARC supplied by author

Sea Cursed: Amy Lee Burgess, Red Magic: JC Andrijeski.

The Othala Witch Collection is a dystopian, paranormal, romance selection of novels by different authors, very much like the Skeleton Key Collection. Each author writes their own story, and unlike anthologies, each is purchased separetly, though the Skeleton Key collection is available as an anthology also.

I’ve not yet read either of these but for those on KU the books are available there, I’ve got Amy’s book on the kindle and will look at JCA’s book too.

 

Sea Cursed: An Adult Dystopian Paranormal Romance: Sector 13 (The Othala Witch Collection)  Amy Lee Burgess

Sea Cursed: An Adult Dystopian Paranormal Romance: Sector 13 (The Othala Witch Collection) by [Burgess, Amy Lee, Sorcery, Fallen, Othala]

Red Magic: an Adult Dystopian Paranormal Romance: Sector 6 (The Othala Witch Collection)  JC Andrijeski

Red Magic: an Adult Dystopian Paranormal Romance: Sector 6 (The Othala Witch Collection) by [Andrijeski, JC, Sorcery, Fallen, Othala]

Click for link to whole collection on Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2fBkRZI

The Bishop’s Girl , Rebecca Burns

The Bishop’s Girl ,  Rebecca Burns

The Bishop's Girl by [Burns, Rebecca]

Genre:   Romance, Historical

I’d not read any of Rebecca’s work before, so when she asked if I’d like to read this I was intrigued. The more I read the more I too wanted to know the story behind the young girl’s skeleton.

Its a dual timeline story, parts are in the present and then as bits of the past are revealed through Jess’s research, the story drops back so we can read what actually happened, as well as the little the research shows.
As the novel progresses the past/present becomes much closer so there’s a brief chapter on what the research suggests and then we whip back to see the story as it happened. Sometimes I get frustrated by dual timelines, when they get me so absorbed in the past and then the next chapter is the present, continues for ages til I get absorbed in that and then changes back. This book manages to avoid that though, lets snippets of the story out but always with a mind as to what’s happening in the present.

I really enjoyed this, its part historical in that the late 1800’s and early 1900’s are in the story, but it also features hugely in the present.
Jess, I liked her. Typical wife and mum, she works as a researcher but the past six years her own work has had to take a back seat to this project Professor Waller wants uncovered.
The professor is a Bishop Shackcloth devotee, has written reams about him, and due to retire this year wants to go out with a bang, revealing the name of the mystery woman buried with the bishop. He’s not into actually doing too much himself though, pushing Jess to spend all her work time – and a good bit of her free time, so he can whip in at the end and present the work as his own. Annoying isn’t it? He’s a horrible man, and I’m guessing this farming out work to others and keeping the glory, the credit for himself isn’t uncommon. All that time though I kept wondering why Jess did it, let herself be pushed into making her own work not priority. Maybe its the way academia and research posts go? I don’t know.
Towards the end Jess also gets irritated about the unfairness of the way she’s always treated by him. Her marriage is under strain too, she’s not sure why, but there’s a growing gap between her and Alec, they don’t seem to talk any more, don’t really feel like a couple, with this strange silence between them. He’s not interested in sex either so of course when her friends son Hayden makes approaches she’s ripe for responding.
She wants to be needed, desired and Hayden does that. She’s worried though, what’s she doing? Where is it going? What about the kids and not least, her marriage? She still can’t seem to resist Hayden though, and in a way I could understand. Its something that many marriages go through as life, work, kids change us.
Her colleague Billy was a surprise too, turned out very differently once we got to know him, and his home life was a real shock and so, so sad. I didn’t like him to begin, coloured I think by Jess views of him, but like her once I got to know him I really felt for him, he was a wonderful man.

The characters from the past; the Bishop – he was so likeable, so full of energy and determined to do good, and yet…he betrayed his long time friend, betrayed his morals, was shameful to the ladies involved, and it was hard to reconcile that to the man who was so wanting to help the underclass, who’d roll up his sleeves and muck in, wasn’t afraid of hard work, dirty work, to improve peoples  lives.
Even now its finished I’m still confused about how I feel for him, admire parts of him, but I’m so angry at his other actions, where he took the cowards way out, abandoned those he’d let down.
Josiah, I liked him, but he seemed to have blinkers on about not only Shackcloth, but his son Edward too. I was amazed that as a doctor he didn’t realise how ill Constance was, again maybe its a time thing, she wanted to hide it and he didn’t look hard enough.
I’d kind of guessed about Edward, sad part of that time period, but that still didn’t excuse his behaviour to Allegra, or later to Violet.
Poor Allegra was really an innocent caught in the manipulations and desires of others. I so felt for her, especially towards the end.

I loved the way we got to see how research works, how tiny fragments and hints that could so easily get ignored, track the path towards the true story. It really is a case of trailing every little thread, knowing that so much will turn out to be nothing.

Its a really sad story, and yet the end was in a way satisfying, I enjoyed seeing what had happened, how it all fitted together.
I loved that Jess came to see the skeleton as a person, not just a mystery leading to fame in the field for finding her name, as the professor saw her. She wanted to give her some dignity, and I think doing that helped Jess take back her own dignity, see herself as a person, not just a wife, mother, research assistant, but a person in her own right, who could and should take charge of her own destiny and choices.

The romance angle isn’t a conventional one, but is there in the scenes with Hayden, and then what happens after, and to a lesser degree in what happened in the past.
It feels to me like the ending is a time of forgiveness all round, for Jess and Alec, for Hayden, for Shackcloth , for Edward,Violet and Allegra. They’ve all done things they regret, but by the end it feels like everything had turned a corner, that the circle has joined and all has the potential to be well again.

Stars: Five, a really solid read, absorbing and interesting, blending past and present seamlessly.

ARC supplied by author

Bonfire Hours of the Night 1.5, Irene Preston & Liv Rancourt

Bonfire
Hours of the Night 1.5,  Irene Preston & Liv Rancourt

Bonfire (Hours of the Night Book 2) by [Preston, Irene, Rancourt, Liv]

Genre:   Romance, LGBTQIA

I loved the first book, and enjoyed this. I very rarely read novellas, but one of the few exceptions is where like this its part of a series I’m already following.
You could read this alone, but I think you’ll get more from it if you read the first book and understand how Sara and Thad came together.

They’re still finding their way, Thad is still struggling with his conscience over his relationship with Sara.
The White Monks – I really dislike them, cold-hearted, unchristian people to my mind. They dangle the hope of forgiveness before poor Thad in exchange for him working for them, risking his life countlessly fighting demons, while they stay safe and smug. They’re just using him IMO, and I think their God would be very angry at the treatment they dish out to him.
One of the things that makes me feel so cross with the Monks is that the characters feel real to me, so in a way my anger is good!!

Anyway, rant over 😉 and back to the story.
Its a Christmas short, bringing Thad into danger from the locals.
I enjoyed the way it played out, how I really felt “there” in the swamps with them, the bringing in of typical vampire/demon/voodoo/witch legends that surround areas like that. Its moving forward, slowly, very slowly, the changes in Thad and Sara’s relationship.
They’re an unlikely duo, the repressed vampire, full of repentance and who has spent the past century working for the monks, fighting Demons, hiding his nature, both vampire and sexual.
Thad was so alone when we first met him, and he seemed to feel that was just punishment for the monster he saw himself as.
Then there’s Sara, totally opposite in nature, exuberant, out and proud, mixed race young man. In many ways he’s incredibly patient with Thad, he’s trying hard to let him lighten up at his own pace, and Thad is trying too but all those decades of routine and blame are hard to get past.
I hope they find their way forward, it looks good so far, and this story cements their relationship a bit more.
Its not just a sexual/love one but something a bit more with Sara and Thad both having a bit extra “sense” of the other than is usual.

A fun short read, that I enjoyed because I already was familiar with this world.
If you like novellas, then you may enjoy this even without reading book one, but its well worth reading too and gives a better understanding of this story.

Stars: Five, a good addition to the series, moving the story forward a little more.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Just Drive, Anchor Point 1, L.A. Witt

Just Drive, Anchor Point 1,  L.A. Witt

Just Drive (Anchor Point Book 1) by [Witt, L.A.]

Genre:  LGBTQIA,Romance.

Well, what a perfect story this was. Full of emotion, a Real barrier that meant they couldn’t be together, rather than the storm-in-a-teacup manufactured issues  we get too often.
I’ve read a few of those lately, and they leave me feeling that they whole point of the book is lost with such a weak potential break-up plot. This one though was perfect, real, and it must happen often in real life.

The issues of Paul and Sean not being able to be together because Paul was senior to his dad, as they had to avoid any possible accusations of bias, was one I hadn’t thought about.
Its not just the Services where things like that happen though is it – what about any job where you’re dating someone who’s parent works in the same firm but in a junior position. The firm I worked for, a private cleaning company had rules where they wouldn’t appoint family members as senior managers, nor anyone closely connected, and though they couldn’t forbid dating internally it was frowned on, and we all knew it would be a bar to promotion. That’s true of many companies. The Navy and other Services are very fierce about things like that, and not only Paul, but Sean’s dad too, could lose his job, even though he may know nothing about it.

When you first meet someone you’re attracted to though, you don’t ask for family history do you? You chat to see what you’ve got in common, or if as with these two, a simple hook-up was all they wanted, well – then chats about each other are superfluous of course.
That’s how it worked with them, that first incredible hot over-the-bonnet sex led to more, and then more…and what was supposed to be a one off hook-up becomes several meetings.
Its just sex at first, and its all no-tell-motel meetings, and after one of their usual searingly erotic encounters they get to talking, and the bombshell is dropped. Arghh. We have to stop, they say, and they mean it but its harder than it seems.

Paul recalls the stress he went through giving up smoking years ago, but he’s so full of Sean in his mind he wants a cigarette, regardless of going through giving up all over again. He can’t concentrate at work, can’t get Sean out of his mind.
Sean’s having the same kind of issues, struggling with his studies, trying hard not to think about Paul but can’t seem to stop.
That led to what I thought was the one weak spot in the story, they kept on meeting “just this once” and then stopped, then gave in and then stopped. It seemed like a little too much yo-yoing and courting danger to me, and just didn’t feel right.
I don’t think the person I thought Paul was, honourable etc would have let Pauls dad’s job be at risk. He might take it for himself, but risk someone else career?
In the same way I couldn’t see Sean letting Paul risk his life’s ambition, when long term both acknowledge it couldn’t happen.
Ho hum…I also was a bit puzzled by the ages thing another reviewer on GR mentions, that Paul id 2 years older than Sean’s dad. that would make him just 15/16 when Sean was born yet he was already in the Navy? Not that it affects the story, but its a niggle none the less, and there was no need t mention his dad’s age.

I would have liked for them to talk a bit more about themselves, apart from the main issue of the Navy they don’t talk much about their backgrounds, and I was just interested.
It didn’t affect the story really except as they were risking so much to be together I’d have liked to see a tighter connection, not just a sexual one.
I could feel how they were so attracted, didn’t feel the age gap mattered, liked the way they joked about it at times. I believe its people that count, not their gender, race, age, religion so age doesn’t matter to me so long as the love connection feels real – and yes it did, very much so.

Its a very hot, erotic and sensual read, with a huge barrier to their long term romance, one that’s all too real, in the Services and in many other jobs. I appreciated that, having a real barrier instead of some tiny, manufactured issue blown out of proportion.
I really felt as if I knew both Paul and Sean, was genuinely emotionally invested with them. To me its important for the characters and the issues they face to feel real otherwise I just don’t get “into” a story, don’t care about what happens. I was pulled in to this one incredibly quickly though.

I felt the bar to them being together was so huge there was no way through, and yet of course its romance, L.A. is going to find a gap – but how? Given what I knew of the characters I couldn’t see how it could happen – but she wraps it up in a perfect way, a very satisfying ending that felt just right.

Stars: Five, a great book, made me think, made me really cross at the barriers to their romance even though I understood why they were in place. A perfect ending.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publisher

Dare Me, Rebecca Shea

Dare Me,  Rebecca Shea

Dare Me by [Shea, Rebecca]

Genre:   Romance,

Well, *sigh* I really wanted to like this, it sounded a fun read but…it wasn’t a bad book, there were a few irritations, but it was mostly a non event for me. Very predictable with the big twist being something I’d guessed from very early on.

There were a couple of potential major events that were brought up – the invitation to a gala from a customer for example – but they fizzled out into nothing. Storm in a teacup stuff.
Other than that it was just Saige asks him out on a dare from colleagues, he says yes and they’re headlong into an intense relationship.

The continuing “dares” irritated me, they sounded so childish. What adult does that?
The first one yes, friends out drinking do play silly games like that when they’ve had a few but sober? Nope.
I didn’t really feel the intimacy of their relationship, that must touch, must have, must be with that comes with new ones, it just felt forced with them and too rushed.
There were some probably erotic sex scenes but I skipped them as the story just felt too weak and I was bored.

Its one of those “it’s me not the book” reads, as I can see others loved it, but for me a story needs more depth. The characters need to feel real, and these didn’t, they felt like stereotypes, clichés, the plots need to have drama, to move forward, not be just work, home, sex, work, home, sex, with a little moaning and nightmares about Saige’s past thrown in.
Then all those accusations that she throws around at the end, she felt like a petulant child, and Holt was too ready to take the blame for something that wasn’t his fault. Grow up girl, you don’t have a monopoly on bad things in life.

Well, that’s how they feel to me, but of course for others they are perfect, and its a five star read. Horses for courses.

Stars: Two, just not my type of read sadly.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Archangel’s Heart, Book 9, Nalini Singh

Archangel’s Heart, Book 9,  Nalini Singh

Archangel's Heart: Book 9 (The Guild Hunter Series) by [Singh, Nalini]

Genre:  Sci-fi and fantasy.

Well, I’ve loved this series since I read the first one aggees ago 😉 and reread some of my favourite ones from it.
Its a series that’s changed hugely since then though, evolved much the same as Raphael has! I think its one that though each book is more or less complete, you need to start at the beginning, because there are so many characters, its such a complex world that jumping in cold with have you lost.

So, I knew who everyone was and yet I still had to keep thinking back to how exactly they all fit together. There are so many characters invovled now that a list of who is who and how they connect would be useful!!
This book is more a part of the overall story arc than an individual romance, as some of them are.

The archangels have been called together to discuss Lijuan and her territory. Who can call the group together though? I mean, they’re very much autonomous beings, but we learn of a new group, a  kind of overall order put together aeons ago for just such a purpose, as well as finding their own paths to Luminescence, a kind of personal goal of perfection – kind of like our mystics and religious wise men. ( Why are they always male though – the Luminata seem to be too – I can’t remember any females there).
They don’t call archangels to account per se, but  see when they need to meet to discuss something important. At the moment they’re dealing with the Cascade and all the side effects of that, the fact there are eleven archangels, unheard of before as there are only ten territories, each are jealously guarded, and of course there’s Lijuan who’s been acting more and more deranged, causing such major issues for angels, vampires and mortals alike with her insistence that she’s a Goddess, and therefore above everyone and everything.
Seems simple doesn’t it – she’s not around, meet to decide if she’s dead or asleep, and what’s going to happen with her territory. At the moment its bringing bloodshed to the borders that needs to be stopped, as without a ruler in effect some of the vampires are going on mass killing sprees.

Only archangels and their seconds, plus consorts are invited – and the archangels have to go, to not appear is to forfeit their territory. Its a real royal summons…
Michaela is her poisonous best, though maybe that description should be for Neha, she’s a real nasty, still holding Raphael guilty for killing her daughter, though it had to be done.
I loved seeing more of Aodhan, but missed Ilium, (sparkle and bluebell!!) love the friendship and banter between those two.
Raphael is at his commanding majestic best, with Elena keeping him a bit on the humane side. Archangels do tend to dismiss mortals, even the ones we think are more compassionate and some of the discussions here about the local village show that really well.
I did miss seeing the Guild personnel, and the vampires, especially Dmitri and Venom.

Lumina though turns out not to be the peaceful place they all imagine, and the events aren’t as simple as they thought. It actually gave me nightmares after reading one night, not that its a horror kind of read, and no worse in the violence than any other in the series. It was the creepiness of the Luminata that did it for me….It’s a place full of hidden secrets masquerading as something else. Question is are they important secrets, what are they, why and how did they happen, and how does all that fit with the purpose of the place?

Still, I don’t regret reading it, despite the bad dreams!!
Its a fantastic read as always, bringing in all the archangels, a new group in the Luminata, answering some long held questions, and revealing more about Elena’s background.
Its not my favourite of the series, those tend to be the more romance centred ones, and the ones centred around Raphael’s territory, but as part of the overall story its moved things on a great deal.

It’s one of the few longer series that’s got so much going on each book still feels fresh and exciting. I couldn’t get in to the Psy novels, read the first ages ago, but wish I could as that series has got so many now and I love ones like these.
Maybe its time for a reread, sometimes I find that on second reading and with the passage of time I’m in a better frame to enjoy stories that didn’t grab me first time round.
Of course there’s the usual issue of time and cash 😉 to contend with too.

Stars: Five, one to keep, to savour rereading – preferably after reading the first book.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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